The Workprofessional: the answer to all the hassle around freelancing / BGL (No Income Tax form)
I am furious. How can the government make it so hard for freelancers? Yes, something must be done against the abuse and misuse of regulations and the way we organise our social system. However, especially then, you shouldn’t punish people who willingly choose to work as freelancers. That is why I am writing my first blog about the alternative: the Workprofessional.
“Go on, you can do it,” I encourage my daughter of 18 months. She is standing at the edge of the pool, staring at the water with a big smile on her face. We already mastered jumping in the water together, so naturally, after that she wanted to do it by herself: “mysef” (indeed, no “L” yet) she said.
So there she was, at the edge of the pool, and I was in the water just in front of her. Jumping in to the paddling-pool wasn’t fun anymore, she set her mind to jumping in the ‘deep’ pool. Obviously with swimming aids and dad close by, but she was wobbling back and forth with joy at the edge of the pool. She was going to try something new!
Suddenly, she jumped in the water. Spluttering and coughing she screamed with delight. I let her go far enough in the water to enjoy her victory. “Yessss”, she screamed. “Again, again!” “Sure honey, as often as you want,” I said glowing with pride. Entrepreneurial thinking should be rewarded; she was brave enough to take a jump in the deep end. That many more may follow!
Why penalise entrepreneurial freelancers?
This little anecdote of a proud father has a lot in common with the whole smothering of the freelancer’s entrepreneurial spirit. Because, isn’t it strange that from an early age we encourage children to take action on their own, yet if an adult chooses to work as a freelancer the government seems to punish him or her? Are the disadvantages really that big and are there no alternatives – are the measures being taken necessary?
The fact that the current way of working as a freelancer isn’t beneficial to the government, is very clear. I am referring to the column written by Stef Witteveen of Uniforce in the ZZP Barometer, in which he says, in the second paragraph: ”Too many fake self-employed freelancers causes damage to our social system”. No one is against measures to combat the abuse and exploitation of others. Rightfully so, questions are being asked about the level of entrepreneurship, and the damage they cause to our social system, of the “freelancing” mailman for Royal Mail and the freelancing Bulgarian working in a greenhouse somewhere.
But I’m afraid the measures that are being taken now are hitting the benevolent, entrepreneurial, self-sufficient, no-government-interference-wanting freelancers, very hard.
The BGL method looks to be a medicine whose side-effects will have a greater negative impact than the actual problem. Who still dares to take that jump into the deep end after these measures? Or to stay in the deep end, once the jump has been made? Is there really no alternative?
Not an entrepreneur, but an entrepreneurial mind
Yes, there is an alternative, one that already exists. No laws have to be made or changed. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people in The Netherlands are already working in this fashion and have deliberately chosen to do so. These are not tax-evaders or employees at dodgy companies. These are people who have an entrepreneurial mind and for example, choose a safe way to ease into freelancing or as an intermediate step from unemployment to a permanent contract. However, there is a taboo on the name of this form of employment. I am just going to come out and say what it is and what can further help progress the situation in our labour market: payrolling yourself. This can be a solution for many when a ‘traditional’ form of employment, or working as an entrepreneurial freelancer, isn’t (temporarily) possible. To end the unnecessary taboo on payrolling and to raise awareness of this form of employment, I hereby christen the people payrolling themselves to Workprofessional!
The solution: The Workprofessional
If you have an entrepreneurial mind, but being a real entrepreneur doesn’t appeal to you, working as a Workprofessional is a great alternative. No hassle about underpayment or the evasive contractual agreements unions fear so much. Instead, just the same rate a client would pay any freelancer or a rate based on the salary of their own employees.
A Workprofessional doesn’t need to be told what to do; they know their own capabilities and clients are willing to pay for their capabilities. The Workprofessional and the client will find each other on their own or with the help of numerous job sites. They want to work together in a way that is completely transparent and in accordance with laws and regulations. They want to focus on their cooperation, the job and the assignment, not on all the hassle the government has in store for them.
I already work with Workprofessionals on a daily basis and I am thrilled that we are able to contribute in this way to make a difference for these people. Acting on the possibilities of cooperating, rather than act based on the limitations the government seems to set up.
Isn’t it more fun to think about what is possible, instead of what isn’t? Think of the robots of tomorrow as an opportunity instead of a threat.
“Side, Side, there! (Slide, slide, there!)” my daughter suddenly says. She is now two years old and we’re on another holiday. Next to this pool there are several big slides. “Do you want to go on one of these?” I ask her whilst pointing to the slides. “Yeeeeeaaah!” she answers. “Sure honey”, I say when she takes another step on her young path of entrepreneurial thinking. Not thinking about the limitations of the big slide, but of the pleasure of it. I love it!
This is my first blog about the Workprofessional in response to the ‘Freelance/BGL’ discussion.
Part two will appear next week, in which I will go deeper into working as a Workprofessional. Share your thoughts on the subject via Twitter @werk_profs or #werkprofessional.